Not long after the announcement that Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins were cast in the lead roles in the upcoming adaptation of John Carter of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ series of novels, we found out the talented Willem Dafoe would be playing an important character in the film(s) as well.

At the time, we knew that Dafoe would be playing the role of Tars Tarkas, a big green Martian who eventually befriends the Kitsch’s John Carter, after an unfriendly beginning to their relationship. Tarkas is a warrior and leader of his people and a very unique one at that because he, against the laws and norms of his society, shows compassion and sympathy, and even had a child secretly with the woman he loved (child bearing is a major criminal offense of his people) – he actually believes war isn’t the answer for his kind.

Dafoe spoke recently about the early stages of development for the production and his character – check it out after the jump.

Capone at Ain’t It Cool News spoke with Dafoe recently and they touched on the topic of John Carter. Here are some highlights of what was said, starting with their thoughts on Disney, Pixar and director Andrew Stanton:

“But, you’ve heard about it [Pixar Studios]. You must go. Get an excuse to go! I mean, I guess everything’s changing for them. This is Disney, anyway, but it’s Andrew Stanton. And, I’ve seen a lot of the designs and things, and I’ve just started to do prep work now. I’m doing a play in New York, so I’m kind of preoccupied by that, but I’m starting doing scans and things like that, but it’s going to be a real full-on… Well, I’m nine feet tall with four arms, but, just from the scheduling, I’m going to do the stuff.”

A nine-foot tall four-armed green alien… believe it or not, that ain’t weird for Dafoe.

Will the CGI and make-up capture his facial expressions and allow him to emote?

“Well, we hope. And, also, they’ll use my face, but they’ll enhance it in a way–both after and before–in a way that I may not be recognizable. But, I’m good with that. It’s particularly cool, because he’s a creature, but he’s got this huge range of character. And, he does cool things in the movies.”

Will he be talking Alien? Have they figured out what voice or dialect will be used for the Thark people?

“No, but there’s a whole period where we’re going to work with the language and the movement, and find out how I’m going to be nine feet tall, and all that stuff…like, a long period of time where we’re going to go to Thark school, you know what I mean? We’re going to create our culture. So, it’s going to be very cool. These guys know how to do this, and they’ve got great people. And, the designs and things are just mind-blowing.”

Dafoe also confirmed that the movie will be a combination of live-action and heavy CGI, something that was already hinted at during the casting announcements.

The films are said to mesh live-action and computer-based animation together in a way similar to what James Cameron has done with his eagerly anticipated Avatar. With Disney and Pixar behind the project and the promise of a series of movies on the same scale of Pirates of the Caribbean, I have high hopes for John Carter of Mars and what it will eventually look like on screen.

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